Saturday, August 8, 2009

Davy Crockett's first magazine appearances

My last post provoked some further research and a wonderful ongoing dialogue with perhaps the world's leading authority on Crockett, Professor Michael Lofaro of the University of Tennessee, introduced to me by my dear friend, Joe Rainone, a fellow fanatic collector who shares my passion for the origins of American popular culture.

With respect to my assertion that this appeared to be the introduction of Crockett to American magazine readers, I stand corrected, as it turns out, what I actually found, and possibly was the first to document, was the first image of Crockett ever published. The 1833 book about him, Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. David Crockett, which I had not seen, does not contain illustration.

Further research, using the index of David Sloane's invaluable book on American Humor Periodicals led me to a well produced Philadelphia magazine, The Ariel. Most fortunately, my collection contains a run of this most interesting publication and, sure enough, Crockett is mentioned in both the issues of January 24th and February 7th 1829. These do appear to be the first magazine appearances, though Dr. Lofaro speculates that Davy showed up earlier in newspapers.

Interestingly, these accounts contain some of the tall tales and bragging that were later to make the self-promoting Crockett an American icon, inspiring Walt Disney to cast Fess Parker as Crockett in the series of programs that members of my generation grew up with.

So here for your reading pleasure are the aforementioned articles:

Have a great weekend.


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